Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Is God Calling You? Lutheran Seminary can help you answer.

Is God calling you … to preach, teach, lead, learn, or grow in faith?  The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) has a program that’s right for you.  A world-class faculty, flexible schedules, a diverse student body – LTSP delivers affordable excellence in theological education. Learn more about how a seminary education can help you answer God's call at these upcoming events:

Project Connect Annual Gathering of Pre-Seminary Students
February 10-12, 2012 at LTSP

Think + Pray + Discern

Attending the pre-sem gathering will allow time for:
•  Interacting with others about Hearing God's Call to serve
•  First-hand, bird's eye view of a seminary 
•  Worship and faith community opportunities 
•  Sharing with others what's happening at your college
•  Information & help regarding candidacy, admissions and the aid
•  Meeting and talking with seminary faculty 
•  Exploring your future

Students and Graduates, ages 18-30 from Regions 7, 8 & 9 of the ELCA, are invited to attend. We encourage the participation of Chaplains and Campus Ministers as well. Meals, housing and program are FREE – NO CHARGE! Transportation reimbursement is available upon request.

Learn more and download the registration form at

Prospective Student Days
Thursday, February 16 and Thursday, March 29, 2012, 6 - 8 pm
Come and See what is available for you at LTSP! Prospective Student Day events are open to anyone interested in lay theological education opportunities, certificate, Master of Arts in Religion, Master of Divinity, Doctor of Ministry, Master of Sacred Theology, or Doctor of Philosophy. Whether you are a lay leader in your congregation who is interested in learning more about the bible, the church's traditions and leadership, or you feel called to serve the church and the world as a public minister of the gospel or as professor at a seminary, we offer education opportunities for you. Please join us for refreshments; conversation with students, faculty and staff; and information about education opportunities, financial aid and admission processes.
Learn more and registrar online at

The Philadelphia Weekend Visit
Friday - Sunday, April 13-15, 2012 
Do you have a passion for service and a love for the gospel?  Are you interested in meeting others who are exploring their call? Are you wondering if LTSP is the place for you to study? Then plan to attend our Philadelphia Visit where you'll have the chance to explore God's call on your life, meet current students, staff and faculty, explore the wide range of possibilities LTSP has to offer and experience community life here in Philadelphia. Philadelphia Weekend Visit is designed for those at a distance from Philadelphia who would like to experience the seminary and region close up. Housing and meals are provided. Assistance with transportation is available by request.
Learn more and registrar online at

If you have questions or need further information on any of these events, contact seminary admissions at or 215-248-7302.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Seminarian Yvonne Lembo first recipient of the Dr. Grover C. and Irma S. Wright Scholarship

Effort to fully fund the scholarship continues

Yvonne Jones Lembo, a third-year scholar at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), is the first recipient of the Dr. Grover C. and Irma S. Wright Scholarship for African American Lutheran Students.

The Wright Scholarship Fund was established with a $75,000 gift from Irma Wright, the widow of African American Lutheran pioneer, Grover Wright, who persuaded dozens of Black scholars to serve as Lutheran professional leaders. The gift was made possible through proceeds from the dissolution of the Black Lutheran Community Development Corporation (BLCDC), a non-profit enterprise founded in 1987 by Grover Wright to provide affordable housing and support services to single parent families in order to help them become self-sufficient. This is the single largest African-American Lutheran gift to LTSP in its nearly 150-year history.

Lembo is a candidate for rostered ministry with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).  She joined Little Zion Lutheran Church of Telford, PA in 2006 and in 2008 began Master of Divinity studies at LTSP. As a field education student, Lembo served as Vicar with St. Mark's Lutheran Church, where the Rev. Dr. Charles Leonard serves as pastor. Leonard also is director of Contextual Education at LTSP. Recently, Lembo assisted the Rev. Claire Burkat, Bishop of the ELCA’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod (SEPA), as pianist and worship leader for the Synod’s “God is Doing Something New” series of three Fall Gatherings She has served as part of LTSP’s Office for Philanthropy since 2009, first as a work-study student, then as an administrative assistant and since October 1 as a Philanthropic Advisor. In this capacity, she is devoted to cultivating strategic relationships in support of LTSP’s Urban Theological Institute (UTI) and funds like the Grover and Irma Wright Scholarship, which provide resources for equipping African-American scholars and Black Church leaders for 21st century ministry.

Lembo has excelled as a student. During her second year as a seminarian two years ago, Lembo was honored with the Karl Elster Wurster Award, recognizing her academic merit and “promise of ministry.”

Sharing her thoughts on receiving the first Grover and Irma Wright Scholarship award, Lembo said: “I’m inspired and deeply, deeply moved by Grover and Irma's life of faith, courage, hope, perseverance and humility and incredible investment in raising up African-American Lutheran leaders for the Church. Mrs. Wright could have chosen to do many things with the funds she received from the BLCDC. But she chose to invest in the future of African-American Lutheran leaders. I feel as if God has lavished these gracious gifts -- of receiving the scholarship and this opportunity to raise funds for the seminary --- as part of a wonderful plan to extend and enlarge Grover and Irma's incredible legacy. So it’s not only the financial gift, but also the Spirit behind the gift that is a blessing to bequeath to each succeeding generation. It's a vision of hope and promise for the future of African-Americans in the Lutheran Church. It's an investment in the future of our communities-- to raise up caring qualified leaders who are sensitive and responsive to giving a hand up to those in need. In Grover’s words, it’s ‘a challenge, an opportunity and a dare’ to minister with integrity in new ways and new settings to expand the frontiers of the Gospel. When I’m moving in that direction, I feel their wind beneath my wings.”

Since the Wright Scholarship was established in 2010, there has been a wellspring of support from African-American Lutherans. A Celebration of Thanksgiving Service this past May generated nearly $3,500 in additional gifts for the Grover and Irma Wright Fund. This August, New Hope Lutheran Church in Jamaica, NY, an African-American Lutheran congregation designated a gift of nearly $6,000 to the Wright Scholarship Fund.

In her capacity as Philanthropic Advisor, Lembo has organized a Grover and Irma Wright Fund Task Force to follow through with the goal of increasing the Fund from the original $75,000 gift to $100,000 or more in 2012. The Task Force includes the Rev. Jessie Brown, Dr. Addie Butler, the Rev. Daniel Shook and Sister Cecilia Wilson -- all of whom have been longtime friends of Grover and Irma Wright and who served on the original Scholarship Task Force.

Lembo is excited about continuing to build momentum and support for the Wright Fund. “The Task Force is working with Dr. Charles Leonard, Larry House and, of course, Mrs. Irma Wright, to produce a short DVD that will tell the Grover and Irma Wright story through footage and photos from Grover's life and interviews with Irma and several of Grover's key colleagues and protégés.”

The DVD will be used to invite others to join in the Wright’s spirit of philanthropy and investment in African-American Lutheran leaders. It is scheduled to be ready by Spring 2012 and to be introduced at an African-American Lutheran History Day at LTSP that Lembo is working on with LTSP faculty member, the Rev. Dr. Richard Stewart. The History Day is tentatively scheduled for this coming April or May. Pastor Larry Smoose and Reformation Lutheran Church of Media, PA have taken the lead in supporting the Grover Wright DVD and 2012 fundraising initiative by pledging $2,500 for DVD production costs and an additional $2,500 matching gift that will double the impact of those who contribute to the Grover and Irma Wright Scholarship over the next year.

For more information about the Grover and Irma Wright Scholarship Fund contact Yvonne Lembo at the LTSP Office for Philanthropy- 215-248-6318 or The LTSP website also features information about the Grover and Irma Wright Scholarship and the signing ceremony celebrating the establishment of the scholarship:

In the photo: Yvonne Lembo (left) with Irma Wright and The Rev. Dr. Rudolph Featherstone at the May 1, 2011 celebration. Photo courtesy

Written by seminary writer Mark Staples

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Starting this February and March: LTSP Not for Credit Course Offerings

This spring semester, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) is offering a not-for-credit course in Basic Spanish, along with a series of five one-day seminars/workshops exploring various facets of educational ministries in congregations. The Spanish course is taught by LTSP Professor Nelson Rivera - no previous Spanish experience
required. Each day long educational ministries seminar is taught by a qualified practitioner and aims to provide a concentrated focus on a theme. The seminars are open to interested Pastors and Christian Educators (for non-credit or continuing education credit). Sessions will be held on the seminary campus, 7301 Germantown Avenue in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia. We invite you to join us!

Detailed information and registration are available online at, or contact Kathie Afflerbach, LTSP Coordinator for Non-Credit Education, at

Here are some details:

Offered by LTSP Prof. Nelson Rivera. For those who have taken little or no Spanish before - no prerequisites! Classes are scheduled for Wednesday evenings starting February 8, 5-6:30 pm.

Seminars on Educational Ministry in Congregations

Five one-day seminars/workshops exploring various facets of educational ministries in congregations. Open to Pastors and Christian Educators of all denominations (available for CE and not for credit - see the website for details and to register.

Friday, March 2, 9 am - 4 pm: Technology and Adult Education in Congregations offered by the Rev. Keith Anderson, Pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Woburn, MA and co-author of the forthcoming book Click2Save: The Digital Ministry Bible (Morehouse 2012).

Friday, March 23, 9 am - 4 pm: Biblical Literacy in Congregations offered by Dr. Erik Heen, John H. P. Reumann Professor in Biblical Studies, LTSP.

Friday, April 13, 9 am - 4 pm: Education for Interreligious Engagement offered by The Rev. Dr. J. Paul Rajashekar, Luther D. Reed Professor of Systematic Theology and Dean, LTSP.

Friday, April 20, 9 am - 4 pm: Sunday School and Young Adult Ministries offered by The Rev. Dr. Jessicah Krey-Duckworth, Assistant Professor of Congregational and Community Care Leadership, Luther Seminary, St. Paul. MN.

Friday, May 4, 9 am - 4 pm: Multicultural Religious Education in Congregations offered by The Rev. Dr. Nelson T. Strobert, Professor of Christian Education in the Paulssen-Hale Chair of Church and Society and Director of Multicultural Programs, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Gettysburg, PA.

See the website for details, fees and to register online at